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States Expand Vaccine Eligibility with Six Opening Shots to All; Videos Show All of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) Among January 6 Insurrectionists; Big Tech CEOs to be Grilled by Congress on Misinformation. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired March 25, 2021 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CLARENCE FULLER, RECEIVED FIRST COVID VACCINE TODAY: I was just at that very point right in the hospital. And sometimes I have a little effect on the COVID, such that I have to think before I speak because I (INAUDIBLE) a little bit.
ARLENE FULLER, RECEIVED FIRST COVID VACCINE TODAY: When it's your time, go get it. You need that. And just -- we have to look out for each other. We have to protect each other.
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NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We've been told of a few cases where some people walked out from their appointment when they found out that they weren't going to get the preferred brand of vaccine that they wanted. And health officials are really urging people not to do that, to please accept whatever vaccine is available to you in that moment, Kate.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN NEWSROOM: That is really interesting. Natasha, thank you so much for that reporting. I appreciate it.
And joining me right now is Dr. Megan Ranney. She's an emergency room physician at Brown University. It's good to see you, Dr. Ranney.
Just released -- I want to ask you about something they just released. At the beginning of this hour is the largest study yet on vaccines and pregnant women. It looked at how effective the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are in pregnant women and in women who are lactating. Not only does it show from this data that the shots are safe but that the antibody levels were strikingly higher in the women getting the vaccine than the antibody levels resulting from if you had a COVID-19 infection while -- during pregnancy. And they also, which I found amazing, passed along these protective antibodies to their newborns. How significant is this? What does this tell you?
DR. MEGAN RANNEY, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: So this is another piece of the science that we've been waiting for. This is what all of us expected to see and why we've been telling pregnant women to go ahead and get the vaccine if it's offered to them. We know that catching COVID-19 during pregnancy is really unsafe. Pregnant women are more likely to get hospitalized or die if they get COVID-19 compared to other women of the same age who are not pregnant. So the fact that we now have proof that the vaccine does work in pregnant women is just terrific news for pregnant women across the country.
It's also great that we now have proof that it is safe because there's been a lot of fear-mongering and myths out there about whether or not a pregnant woman should get the vaccine. We now know that it is okay and it's even better for you and for your baby, and that's the last part.
Just like with the flu vaccine, we tell pregnant women to get the vaccine to protect themselves and to protect their baby once it's born, same thing here. You are giving protection to your baby once it's born by getting that vaccine during pregnancy.
BOLDUAN: Look, and we all know that when you are pregnant, no matter what stage in your pregnancy, your body isn't your own, right? You are -- a lot of the steps that we take and the precautions we take, of course, have to do with protecting our children. This is really important because, understandably, women were wondering what this new vaccine meant for themselves in this amazing moment in their lives and also over their unborn children.
I think this is going to be such welcome news to so many women when we know what risk COVID-19 is to pregnant women. I think one of the stats I saw was if you get COVID-19 and you're pregnant, you're like five times more likely to go on a ventilator.
RANNEY: Yes, that's exactly right. You know, someone who has two kids myself, I remember those early days of pregnancy, Kate, and trying to decide, you know, is this thing safe to eat, which vitamins are the best, what exercise (INAUDIBLE) or not. And now, we have this really strong evidence that getting the vaccine is not just for safe for you, not just safe for the baby but better for the baby.
So it's becoming one of those things again, like the flu vaccine, like prenatal vitamins that we should not just be saying it's okay to do it but you should do it because if you're not healthy, then the baby is not healthy. And that's the first and biggest thing as an E.R. doc that I always tell my patients. COVID vaccine is another way to keep yourself healthy.
BOLDUAN: Yes, that's a good point.
On this marker that President Biden is expected to announce a new vaccination goal, if you will today. The original goal was 100 million shots in arms in 100 days, they met that goal in, what, like 50 days. What should the new goal be?
RANNEY: Oh, man, I would love to see 200 million doses into arms in another 50 days, and I think that's really doable within numbers that Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer are saying that they're going to produce by the end of May along with the important second component, which is not just supply, but also thanks to the American rescue plan, the investment in the logistics of getting vaccines in arms, going door to door for the high-risk communities, setting up mass vaccination clinics, making it really, really easy to make sure that every adult in the United States has the opportunity to get a vaccine seems like a very reasonable goal to me.
BOLDUAN: Good to see you, Dr. Ranney, thank you.
RANNEY: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: This just into CNN as well. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is suggesting today the lights of Broadway could be back on by September. He announced this morning that the city is going to be setting up vaccination sites specifically for theater workers in an effort to help get Broadway back as quickly and safely as possible.
Joining me right now is CNN's Alexandra Field for more on this. Alex, what are you hearing about this?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, this is such a major step forward. It is all about restoring the heartbeat of New York City. We could see these vaccinations starting as soon as next week, April, four members of the theater community. These will be sites that are specifically designated for them. They will also be staffed by members of the theater community. On top of that, the city is funneling additional resources in here. They're going to set up a mobile vaccination unit. That will target the off Broadway industry workers. You're also going to be seeing pop-up COVID-19 testing sites.
Bottom line here, Kate, is that this is about putting 100,000 people back to work. This is an industry that has a $15 billion annual economic impact. The mayor talked about the significance of all this a little bit earlier.
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MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NEW YORK CITY, NY): This is going a year to turn things around and our artists, our performers, our cultural community are going to lead the way and encourage people and inspire people. So it's time to raise the curtain and bring Broadway back.
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FIELDS: Along with keeping the actors safe, along with keeping that backstage community safe, the city is looking at how they're going to keep the audiences safe. They say they are working closely with the theater community to create a crowd management plan for when they're actually hopefully able to put people back in their seats in September.
BOLDUAN: Broadway is calling you right now. It's good to see you, Alex, thanks so much.
Coming up for us, new video from inside the insurrection on the Capitol, evidence an ally to a sitting member of Congress was part of the mob. That member of Congress has not responded to this reporting yet.
BOLDUAN: New details from inside the Capitol during the January 6th attack. Video footage reviewed by CNN shows a close ally of a sitting member of Congress in the pro-Trump mob that stormed the building. Anthony Aguero, a conservative live streamer and associate and close ally of Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, is seen here. He is highlighted in this video.
Greene is no stranger to conspiracy theories, helped push Donald Trump's lie of a stolen election and massive voter fraud, as we well know. But what we're looking at is the first video confirmation that her close ally was inside the Capitol that very day.
Just yesterday, House lawmakers focused in on the role of domestic extremism in the United States right now. I want to play for you what chairwoman -- Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin said.
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REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN (D-MI): The single greatest threat to our country right now is the threat of domestic terrorism and the tensions and polarization between us.
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BOLDUAN: The congresswoman joining me now. Thanks so much for being here.
The single greatest threat to our security right now, the FBI director really agrees with you. He has made clear -- he's made this clear about domestic extremism as well. And the question is a big one, which is what can be done about it right now?
SLOTKIN: Sure. Well, first of all, I mean, the most important thing is we need to be resourced to tackle the threat, you know? And I'm someone who was a CIA officer and Pentagon official that basically decided to go into national security because of 9/11. And we did the same process after 9/11. Were we resourced to deal with a foreign terrorism threat? Do we have enough analysts, officers, money, the whole thing, law? Did we have the right law on the books? And I think that's a version of what's going on right now.
And it's very, very clear that across the federal government, there is just not that same focus on domestic terrorism for obvious reasons, right, civil liberties, civil rights, we have to be very, very careful, people have a right to freedom of speech.
But I think one of the things that we can do is, A, make sure we're resourced, and then, B, hold people accountable, actually use the law on the books to charge people with terrorism-related charges, with anti-militia related charges. That hasn't been the case that often. And we talk often about how to increase that given the level of threat.
BOLDUAN: Can you get this right? You talk about a lot of -- what was done post-9/11, right? Can you get this right without a 9/11-style commission? I honestly haven't heard anything about that anymore.
SLOTKIN: Yes. One of the things I'm most frustrated about right now, I'll be honest, is that we have not been able to come to agreement on the scope of a 9/11-style commission. We all know we need to have it. We all know we need to understand what happened that day, the failures, what led to that horrible event.
And I will tell you, I'm frustrated with both Democratic and Republican leaders who can't see our way through this to say this is what the country needs.
BOLDUAN: What is holding it up? Is it just sadly just annoying politics?
I mean, is it just like the makeup of how many Democrats and Republicans are going to be on this thing?
SLOTKIN: So, my understanding, and I'm not in the room for these negotiations, is it's two things. It's one that Speaker Pelosi has sought a larger number of Democrats and Republicans, and number two, that the Republicans on the other side are asking that the report look at not just what happened that day but groups that know Antifa and folks who frankly no intelligence agencies say had anything to do with the attack on the Capitol. So it's both scope and numbers.
And I think the 9/11 commission should be our guide. Equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans but responsible individuals believe in the facts of the case and you look at what led up to it and not extraneous groups that weren't related to that day.
BOLDUAN: I have to say that is entirely reasonable and, again, why people are so frustrated with Congress all the time. Because if you want to get it right and you should, because people tried to attack all of you on that day, learn from it and move on. This is one of those things that make people's blood boil.
At the same time, I also have to ask you about K-File's reporting off the top, that -- just your reaction to hearing that a close ally of a sitting member of Congress, yes, a close -- a member of Congress who gravitates to conspiracy, loves conspiracy theories and has pushed conspiracy theories, no question, but the fact that a close ally of a sitting member of Congress was among the people rioting on Capitol Hill and the fact that Marjorie Taylor Greene has not responded, has not stood up to talk about this.
SLOTKIN: Yes. I'll be really honest. This is a law enforcement matter. This is not -- I mean, we can talk about it and we can go back and forth in the media, but, frankly, if allies of members of Congress were involved in that attack, and then, God forbid, if they were brought on tours, if they performed surveillance, if they engage in those things, that is a law enforcement matter.
And I know that the district attorney -- I'm sorry, the attorney general of the District of Columbia is looking at that right now.
BOLDUAN: It gives me chills when you think about the fact that they might be giving them tours. It still does even though we've been talking about it now for months.
Can I change directions with you, because voting rights are under attack across the country? And we just are seeing now that Michigan is now joining this national push, Republicans in Michigan to restrict voter access.
Republican lawmakers, they have just filed 40 bills yesterday in the state senate. And the Republicans say it's about voter integrity and the same things that we've heard from Republicans in other key states that, you know, Democrats made big gains in 2020. What do you call this effort that is happening in your state?
SLOTKIN: I mean, I think what's going on across the country and now Michigan, unfortunately, is this cut and paste from states that are attempting to restrict access to voting. And the bills are very, very similar. This is not creative thinking on behalf of the Michigan Republicans. This is cutting and pasting from what other states are doing.
And, you know, I think for me, when I look at these bills, people have lost their way. If they're feeling about how to win and how important it is to win for their side involves making it harder to vote for people, they have lost their way as a group, as a lawmaker.
And, luckily, we have our governor here who I'm sure would veto any bills that would pass through the legislature. But I do think based on my background you sort of hope for the best but plan for the worst.
And if these laws are being enacted in parts of the country and disenfranchising people and they survive through the court system, we need to make sure that there is voter education and voter registration plans. I literally think of like freedom summer, you know, from the '60s, where young people went to these communities to educated voters and make sure that they could still access the vote. I think we're going to need to plan on that on the unfortunate possibility that some of these laws pass.
BOLDUAN: Hope for the best, plan for the worst, there is your mantra for state of American politics right now. Congresswoman, thank you for coming in.
SLOTKIN: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, lies and disinformation that were allowed to spread like wildfire on social media helped ignite the Capitol riot. Now, big tech CEOs are facing Congress for the first time since the insurrection.
We are watching Capitol Hill where Congress is about to grill the biggest names in the big tech on their role in amplifying extremism and disinformation. The CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter will once again be appearing before congressional hearing to answer questions about the spread of disinformation on their platforms.
CNN's Donie O'Sullivan is joining me right now. Donie, this is the first time these tech execs are back on the Hill since the January 6th insurrection. What are they about to face?
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, Kate. They're probably going to tell Congress how much work they're doing in tackling misinformation, how many new rules and policies they brought in, how they're investing in moderators, and here's what Zuckerberg is actually going to say specifically. He's actually going to say, we do more to address misinformation than any other company, quite possibly because there's more misinformation on Facebook than there are on most other platforms.
But, you know, they are going to face some very difficult questions, because you have someone like Zuckerberg there who says, I don't want my platform being used to incite violence while just a few weeks before the insurrection, Steve Bannon was on a video on Facebook where he called for the beheadings of Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
And I just want to show you very quickly a stunt that was pulled outside Congress today depicting Mark Zuckerberg as the QAnon shaman. Of course, this was a visual stunt but it does underline that these platforms, these companies have culpability and responsibility for what happened in Washington, D.C. on January 6th.
BOLDUAN: Yes, they are also very good at not answering questions when they are before members of Congress. We will see if it is any different this time. Donie, thank you so much.
Coming up for us, President Biden gets ready to face reporters for his first news conference since taking office. What is at stake for the president as he faces down multiple crises at once?